The Quilt, Internet2 InCommon Pilot Program reveals insights for scaling identity services to K-12 communities

Internet2 and The Quilt InCommon K-14 Identity Federation Pilot Program, led across the country by 10 organizations, revealed insights for scaling identity services to K-12 communities. The pilot programs were conducted by state research and education networks and state-base agencies for the purposes of learning about and enabling K-12 access to federated services.

The participants found that K-12 organizations and community colleges can benefit from simplified access to shared online services, but often lack the resources to implement the federated identity solutions that have proven successful in higher education. The pilots also revealed that collaborations and coordination across states and regions can enhance efforts to enable more efficient access to shared online services in the K-14 arena.

The research was detailed in a recent whitepaper.

Participating in an identity federation such as Internet2’s InCommon Federation has significant benefits for educational institutions, providing a common framework for trusted shared management of access to online resources. Reducing staff and service integration costs, increasing security, and enabling students ease of access are just a few of the long-term benefits that the pilot participants saw as helping to serve K-12.

To conduct the pilots, Internet2 provided education, technology guidance, and connections to industry partners and collaborated with regional networks to engage their members on federation and provide guidance for the specific pilots.

“Each of the pilots developed and shared their plans for proving a targeted approach to K-14 federation and were successful in achieving their initial goals and objectives. Several of the pilots worked with industry partners in forming their plans and providing identity services to their constituents,” said George Laskaris, President and CEO of the New Jersey’s Research and Education Network (NJEDGE.Net), Quilt Board of Directors member, Internet2/Quilt InCommon pilots leader, 2013-2015. “We were pleased with the results of the collaborative efforts and are eager to see the work move forward.”

“Scaling the InCommon Federation to serve K-14 is a significant challenge. The regionals in the pilot have been instrumental in working with us to identify tools and business approaches to do this and collaborate on subsequent activities to address it. We thank the organizations who took part in this work, it is truly exciting to bring the benefits of InCommon to more students and educators across the country,” said Kevin M. Morooney, Internet2, vice president, trust & identity programs.

The pilots, which began in February, 2013, were conducted by:

  • Illinois: NCSA and IlliniCloud
  • North Carolina: MCNC
  • Maryland: MDREN
  • Michigan: Merit
  • Nebraska: ESUCC
  • Ohio: OARnet
  • Utah: UETN
  • Wisconsin – WiscNet

Access additional information about each pilot program and its results.

Attend an upcoming webinar detailing pilot program results.